Big Nose, Mommy & Me

Have you ever wondered what a baby thinks as he’s looking up at you with those baby blue eyes? Perhaps we can imagine.

It’s all about me. It’s true. The world revolves around me. Ask Mommy. She’ll tell you.

“Isn’t he handsome?” Mommy says. I am in my crib. Her face is above me. She smiles her large smile. I love her smile. It makes me feel warm inside. I giggle.

“He’s not so hot,” Brother looks through the bars of my crib. He has big eyes. Big ears. A big nose. His big mouth smirks at me. I look at him. I frown.

“You be nice,” Mommy says.

Yeah, Big Nose, you listen to Mommy.

“I am nice,” Big Nose says.

I stick out my tongue. I spit. Pooh on you.

“Now, now,” Mommy says to me, “ignore your brother. He doesn’t have a clue. It’s great to have a little brother like you. You’re just darling, you know that? Yessir, goo goo ga ga.”

I do know that. I’m back looking at Mommy. She has the most beautiful face in the world. Cut it out, Mommy. You’re tickling me. Please, you’re tickling me. Mommy stops the tickling. She pulls the blanket over my shiny new body.

“Look at him,” Mommy says to Big Nose. “Isn’t he wonderful? And that smile. Who couldn’t love a smile like that.”

See, I told you. The world does revolve around me. And I’m wonderful too.

“What’s so wonderful about the little turd?”

I frown. Mommy, he called me a bad word. Well, he’ll be sorry. I’ll fix him. I’ll fix him good.

“Don’t talk like that. Just look at those … toes.”

“Pee eww,” Big Nose says,

They turn their faces away.

Sorry, Mommy. That was meant for him.

“The little turd just pooped a big turd. Guess his turds are wonderful too.”

They both face me again. Mommy reaches down to unpin my diaper.

“Like your poop don’t stink. I’m here to tell you that was mild compared to yours.”

I knew it. Even when I poop, I’m wonderful. Why would she change my diaper if I wasn’t? I smile at her. Then I giggle.

She smiles back at me. “You’re absolutely adorable, you know that?”

I do know.

O’Toole and His Bag of Gold

This one is for the coming St. Paddy’s Day on Tuesday. So have a Guinness and enjoy:

If you’re Irish, you’ve heard all sorts of tales about the leprechauns. This was one of the strangest that ever came my way.

The one-eyed leprechaun, O’Toole, was an old warrior who’d seen more than his share of battles. He was tired of all the war and very little of being left in peace. In his younger days, there wasn’t a tussle he wouldn’t go out of his way to find. He’d been in so many scraps he’d come to be known by the others of his breed as especially mean-tempered. And many of these quarrelsome altercations he’d fought were in defense of what was rightfully his, his precious bag of gold.

Yet here it was a fine spring day in the Glen of Cloongallon, and there was another Irishman slogging along on the path below O’Toole’s hidden green cottage, and he’d come looking for trouble. Of that, the leprechaun was sure. As sure as Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland, he was wanting the leprechaun’s gold. And he was loud, so loud he could be heard all the way to Dublin and back. They were always noisy, these greedy knuckleheaded humans after his treasure. There was not getting around it. O’Toole and his solitude was not to be left alone

Though his muscles ached and he wasn’t as young as he used to be, O’Toole, being O’Toole, couldn’t let a challenge like this go by the wayside. He set aside his pipe and his hammer and the shoe he’d been working on and rose from his wooden chair. He took a quick gulp from a mug of poteen, strapped on his short sword and stepped through the cottage door.

He looked to the sky and sure enough there was a rainbow. He walked past the hawthorn, the ash, and the blackthorn hedges and between the chestnuts toward the man. He was a tall muscular man, all dressed in green, with a shillelagh in his right hand. He called himself Darcy and he stood by the six large standing stones. The leprechaun stopped aways off from the man. Then he drew his sword.

“What is it ye’ll be wanting, Muscles?” O’Toole called.

“I’ll be a-needing yer gold, Leprechaun,” Darcy answered. “Where there’s a rainbow, there must be a leprechaun and his gold.”

“Me? A leprechaun?” O’Toole laughed. “There’s no fairy folk here.”

“That’s not what I’m a-believing. I would be a-guessing ye’re one of the wee people yer own self, tain’t ye?”

“I’m a-telling ye none of the folk ye’re seeking are here in the meadow.” O’Toole swung his sword twice.

“I been chasing that there rainbow for a dozen or so years and here’s the end of it, right here in yer parlor. Ye’re not denying it, are ye?”

“It’s not me parlor. I just happened along.”

Darcy laughed as he pounded the end of the shillelagh against his left palm.

“Be that or not, I’ll be taking yer gold, and I’ll be taking it now.” Darcy started toward O’Toole.

“What will it be worth to ye? Yer own sweet life?”

“That and all me ancestors, as well.” Darcy continued to advance.

“Stop there, or it’s yer head. There’s many a headless chucklehead walking around in this dale. Here ye’ll be one more ghost for the banshees to chase.”

“Ye think ye’ll be about to keep yer head out of the way of me shillelagh?” Darcy asked as he stopped and reflected upon the circumstances that he and O’Toole found themselves in.

“Club or no, ye’ll be a dead chucklehead.”

Darcy raised his stick and O’Toole raised his sword. The two stood there eye to eye and waiting. The leprechaun knew he could defeat the chucklehead before him, but what was the point? He was tired and his muscles ached and there would be others. There were always others. There was no stopping them. As much as he loved his gold, it was a curse. O’Toole lowered his sword.

“So, ye wants me gold? And ye’re about to die for it.”

“Live or die, it’ll be mine.”

“And yer ancestors, knuckle-brain?”

“They’ll die for it too.”

O’Toole sheathed his sword and reached behind himself. When he turned back toward Darcy, he had a large bag of gold in his hand. He dropped it into Darcy’s palm. Then he said, “Take the gold and all the troubles that will beseech ye because of it.”

With that, the old leprechaun turned and walked away happy.

Ikeadom

Several Sundays ago, we made the pilgrimage, Mrs. Bardie and I, to the holy shrine of Ikea. I’d heard it was a shopping paradise. Have heard it is now one of the three main reasons to come to Orlando, Disney and Universal being number one and number two. Just walk in and they have everything, interior designwise. It will make your eyes water, your words go gaa-gaa and your wallet empty. (Guess that’s why God made credit cards, huh?)

First we had to get a map. Made me think of Epcot, only Ikea didn’t charge, and that’s when I knew I was in trouble. Anyplace I need a map to find my way to the bathrooms, I know, is going to be a bit too much. I was hoping they’d give me a compass too but no such luck. And of course, there’s a Shopping List form on the back of the map.

From the entrance, I played Follow the Leader, following my significant-other up the stairs and into the Big Store. She turned to me and said, “Now, Bardie, if you get lost, remember your Boy Scout skills. Stand still and I will find you.” The place was big, I mean, really big. And so many choices. There was book shelves everyplace and the book shelves had book shelves. And they all had Swedish books on them. I’ve never seen so many Swedish books in my life.

I saw a chair that I kind of liked. It looked comfortable. So I sat down. But I couldn’t get up. If I brought this one home, I’d need a crowbar to pull my heft out of all that comfort. If I looked around, I am sure I would have found that crowbar in the accessories department. There were living rooms so spectacular I plan to end up in one of these when I kick the bucket (oops, cliches slipping in there, Bardie). And a place for that big big screen TV I’ll buy when I win the lottery.

There was a sign saying “Serenity Now. Because there’s nothing better than knowing where everything is…” Now that sounded reasonable. I liked that. Too bad Ikea couldn’t help me in that department as I tried to find my way through the store.

Soon I found myself among a whole bunch of closets. There was one so big I commented, “You could stuff a dead body in there.” I was thinking of my Character Closet theory. If a Character has a dead body in the closet, he must be a serial killer, huh? You know it’s the little things, the details, that give a story its color. Of course, this closet was filled with shoes. Imelda Marcos must have loved Ikea.

There were desks and more desks, more desks than I’d ever seen in my life in one place. And I used to work in an office supply store. These Ikeaistas have made the phrase “everything including the kitchen sink” into a life mission statement. There was way too many kitchen sinks for me to want to look at. There were big ones, small ones, medium-sized ones.

Well, I am not one you want to take shopping. I like my shopping in little doses. My head started to hurt. I’d seen too many living rooms and I was starting to run out of steam. All these rooms were taking on the same tinge. I said to the Mrs., “We’re starting to get reruns here.” Sure it was full of well-made furniture that was inexpensive. But it was just too much.

Then, oh, my God, we headed downstairs, and would you be believe, more stuff. The cranky was now coming out in me. And the “I just want to get out of here”. How were we ever going to get out of this place? It made me appreciate Hansel and Gretel and their bread crumbs. “My God, will we never get to the checkout?” Then, “Oh, no, there’s a line longer than the one at the Pearly Gates.” Well, there was light at the end of the Ikea store. I could see the Parking Lot. As we made our way through the noise and the confusion and into the Parking Lot, I knew why someone said, “There’s no place like home.” They’d been to an Ikea store and were ready to head for home.

So that’s my Ikea experience. Maybe it wasn’t a nightmare. But I know one thing. I just don’t want to dream about it. Next time, it’s online shopping for me.

Does Your Lawn Talk To You?

Guess what? Mine does. It talks up a palaver. There’s just no shutting it up, and it’s not
the happy talk one would expect from a lawn that receives the royal treatment. Lately it’s been on the warpath. It wants its own Facebook page. Can you imagine? It’s not going to happen. Not going to do it.

So my advice to my lawn. It had better stop insisting. It had better quit waking me up way too early in the morning just to run its mouth, whispering, “Facebook.” It saw what I did to those crop circles in my back yard, spelled, “Facebook.” I mowed right over them. Felt good after I did too. That was a warning.

Another thing. It had better quit blaming the cat. That cat did not pee those letters in the grass. He does not even like Facebook. Last time I left the site open on my computer, he saw it. He almost destroyed the computer. Never heard such snarling in my life. Besides it would be “catnip” that he would pour out on the lawn. ‘Cause I am here to tell you he sure enjoys that stuff. Just lights up a cigar and lounges in the living room ever so mellow when he has had a hit of the stuff.

No, it was the lawn and its campaign for Facebook immortality. Ever since I set up a Facebook page, it’s been after me. It’s just one more of its conspiracy to run roughshod over my life. If I did it, all my neighbor’s lawns would want a page of their own. Next thing you know my neighbors would beating down my door with axes and pitchforks, demanding, yes demanding, that I take it down. I’m afraid of what they might do with those pitchforks

Oh, and another thing, that lawn had better quit having babies. Used to take only thirty minutes to mow the lawn. Now it takes two and a half hours. If things continue the way they are, pretty soon I will need a water truck to keep my thirst quenched when I am mowing you.

I’m telling you that I am getting fed up with all the lawn hi-jinx. They’re enough to drive one man crazy. And I am not talking crazy in love either. You know that there is no love lost between the my lawn and I.

When I was a kid, I said never. Not ever would I have a lawn to care for. It was my job to mow when I was in school. Then I grew up and got a new job. Taking out the garbage. Not only do I to take out the garbage but I have mow that lawn. I am not a happy man.

If I could get away with it, I would just brick it over. But that is not a plan. No sirree. Cement does not cool things off in the summer. It heats them up. But I am warning it that, if things do not change, there will be some changes all right. I’ll pack it up and send it off to Alaska for a six-month-winter. That will teach it. So it can just take that as a warning.

Hopefully giving my lawn a case of the reading-the-riot act will do the trick. Get it to fall in line. With no more insistence on a Facebook page. Nary one whisper about the darn thing.

I don’t mind a little sassy from it from time to time. But no more Facebook and no more kids. Thank you very much.

By the way, anybody want to buy a lawn. I’ll throw in the transportation to Anyplace, USA for free. And I don’t even care if you give it a good home. Just take it off my hands.

A High School Sophomore’s Book Report on “The Metamorphosis”

I have a report to do on a book by this Franz Kafka guy. It’s called “The Metamorphosis”. But I just can’t focus. My mind’s bouncing off the wall, running hither and thither, and from here to there. Every time I try to concentrate on this story, my mind goes off and does its own thing.

Here this Kafka guy has his main man, waking up and finding himself a stinkbug. I’m thinking what stinkbug worth his salt as a stinkbug would want to wake up as a character in a story like this. None, I’m sure. Not that I know any stinkbugs personally.

Now I have to admit my Uncle Griffin looks like a stinkbug. Smells like one too. When he came over the other day. Mom said he hadn’t bathed in a week. All I know was that he was p.u.-ing all over the place. So she made him take a good long shower. I googled stinkbug in Google Images. Yep, there was Uncle Griff.

Back to the story. Guess this stinkbug guy’s like the Penguin in Batman. It ain’t Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot’s fault he’s got flippers. He just does. Clark Kent doesn’t have normal guy underwear either. You ever see him in his Fruit of the Looms?

I’m thinking maybe Kafka’s stinkbug is not a stinkbug at all. Maybe he is a fellow with the DTs. That would explain his strange behavior. I looked it up and yep, that’s what my uncle has alright. It’s short for something called delirium tremens. Mom’s got Uncle Griff locked in our guest bedroom and he’s calling out for help. Actually he’s not calling, he’s screaming, “Marge, Marge.” That’s my mom’s name. Griff is her younger brother.

I have to say that his screaming sounds pretty good. I been getting into the scream scene myself, grooving to a band called the Screaming Marbles. Uncle Griff could be the lead singer. Come to think of it all five guys in the band look like stinkbugs, so my uncle would fit right in.

Seems all this DT stuff started with something my mom calls “An Intervention”. Mom says it’s where a bunch of people get together and tell a drunk what-for and he’d better get “the cure”. They did that day before yesterday at the house after Uncle Griff’s shower and clean-up. Before they started intervening, they sent me off to the movies. I wanted to see that new X-Men movie but this intervening sounded like a lot more fun. But I did what I was told.

“Your uncle will be staying with us for a while,” my mom said when I got home from the movies. Then she explained, “Your uncle is sick, and we’re going to make him well.”

I smarted off, “You mean he’s a drunk.” My mom slapped my face for saying that like she never slapped my face before. Think it’s ’cause she’s all stressed out about Uncle Griff being an alcoholic. That’s what mom calls his sickness. I ain’t saying he’s a drunk anymore ’cause I don’t want to be slapped no more. But he is. Still a drunk, that is.

Anyway things been getting a little Kafkaesque around my house these days as you can see. One thing I sure hope. That my Uncle Griff don’t croak the way the stinkbug did in that Kafka story. He’s a really nice guy when he ain’t drinking. My favorite time with him was when he taught me how to ride a bicycle. He sure had a lot of patience. Every time I fell on my keister, we laughed. Once I rode my bike a whole block, he ran up side the bike and told me we were getting an ice cream as a reward for all the hard work. So you can see why I hope Uncle Griff don’t die.

By the way, Mrs. Hastings, I hope you don’t ever get them DTs. They ain’t nice.